Student says UWI Toronto Gala Scholarship was ‘a turning point’ in his life

From left Brigette Chang-Addorisio, Dr. Michael S. Pollanen, Dr. Victor Blanchette, Dr. Avis Glaze, Masai Ujiri, Susan E. Rice, Medhat Mahdy of YMCA, Donette Chin-Loy Chang and Ambassador Richard Bernal. PHOTO BY:Tom Sandler Photography

A 24-year old University of the West Indies (UWI) medical student from Barbados came to Toronto to say thanks last Saturday evening to donors of a scholarship he received which became ” a turning point” in his life. With tears steaming down his cheeks, Kodee Sargeant, the third-year student whose ambition is to be “a qualified medical missionary,” said he was” the proud  recipient” of a UWI Toronto Gala Scholarship.

Sargeant who was speaking at the ninth annual UWI Toronto Benefit Gala, said his studies in medicine almost came to an abrupt end when he  ran out of money.

He explained that finding employment was a difficult task for him since ” employers tend not to employ full time students.

“However, with determination to realise my dream, I would on

Kodee Sargeant

occasions accept jobs and juggle them with my classes, all in an effort to have a little cash to help me through university.

” The odd jobs eventually ended, and my dream of becoming a medical doctor had come to an end – or so I thought.

” But just as I was about to print my withdrawal letter, and give up, I received the good news ” [of  the scholarship].

He noted that ” the struggles may have been similar, or even more burdensome for the other 46 scholarship recipients across the UWI, who on their own,  might have had to abort their studies, due to  financial constraints

” Among these are two students from the island of Dominica that was ravaged by Hurricanes Maria and Irma.

“Thankfully, the funding helped them tremendously with their studies and living conditions during these trying times. ”

” I thank the donors of the UWI Toronto Gala for considering the plights and hardship of so many of us who are left alone to swim in that wide ocean of financial distress.

“Thank you for coming to our aid…Thank you for allowing us to realize our dreams.”

In nine years, the UWI Toronto Benefit Gala has awarded 400 scholarships.

At last Saturday’s gala, six persons and one long standing charitable organizations received awards.

The following were the awardees:

Luminary Award – Susan E, Rice, former US Ambassador to the United Nations

  1. Raymond Chang Award – Masai Ujiri, President of the Raptors

 The  Chancellor’s Award – The YMCA established  in  Canada in  1851

 The Vice Chancellor’s Award – Dr. Victor S. Blanchette, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Toronto.

The Vice Chancellor’s Award – Dr. Avis Glaze, former Ontario Education Commissioner

The Vice Chancellor’s Award – Dr. Michael S. Pollanen, Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto.

The patron of the ninth annual gala was The G. Raymond Chang Family (wife Donette Chin-Loy Chang, and children Andrew Chang and Brigette Chang Addorisio).

  1. Raymond Chang who died in July 2014, was a Canadian and Caribbean business leader and


Lead sponsor of the UWI Toronto Benefit Gala for the ninth consecutive year was Scotiabank.